Imagine you are training in an immersive law enforcement simulator. The screens darken, then light up with a desert scene as the dispatch relays information on the call you are responding to. Pedestrians give you further information about the event, then point you towards a man sitting on a ledge. It becomes clear: this is a suicide call and you need to carefully persuade the man to seek help, not jump. 

This is a difficult situation, but a necessary one to train for, as any officer can be called to prevent suicide. But as important as the training topic is, the method of training is just as important. For officers who train with VirTra’s systems, the scenario will unfold based on the officer’s actions and words, creating real-life training designed to benefit both officers and their communities. Officers can train in the same scenario multiple times, trying new de-escalation tactics or certain phrases, then see how the situation plays out. Does an action cause the man to comply, lash out or jump? Which verbiage best comes into play here? Instructors watch over the trainees and, depending on the officer’s choices, they choose the applicable branch in the situation and thus create a new ending. 

Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy 

The simulator itself is an incredible training tool, but what about combining the classroom and the simulator? VirTra created the V-VICTA® program, which is a series of nationally-certified curriculum that is first taught in the classroom then practiced in the simulator. This all-in-one training solution instills proper training and knowledge transfer, thus helping officers remember their training in the field and utilize it to help those around them. 

For example, one V-VICTA curriculum is “Autism Awareness.” This material teaches officers how to identify possible autistic behaviors and the best ways to interact with the subject. Officers who aren’t taught how to recognize and react accordingly to these behaviors could put the subject or themselves at risk. And, according to data from the CDC, 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism, making it extremely likely that every field officer will interact with someone on the spectrum. To improve safety for officers and every member of their community, they must first know how to best interact with every member of the community.  

Officer training is complex, but it is always centered around safety—for subjects, bystanders, partners and oneself. To learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA training curriculum, or to try a training simulator at an upcoming trade show, contact a VirTra specialist.

How do you transition your officers from traditional iron sights to a pistol-mounted red dot optic? There are plenty of good training ideas—such as increased practice on the range, lectures on how the optic works, etc.—but one of the best is having your officers engage in an extensive training course.

One such course is VirTra’s nationally-certified course “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment.” This new curriculum has 21 accompanying training drills and was created in conjunction with Victory First® utilizing Aimpoint® red dot optics. Just as it sounds, this course is designed to help officers successfully transition from the traditional iron sights to a modern pistol-mounted red dot optic.

How it Works

Red Dot is one of VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum, and thus, follows the same structure. With this curriculum, instructors receive lecture materials, presentations, handbooks, range drills and more to teach, train, test and sustain their officers on the given material. This starts in the classroom, then leads to extensive red dot optic training either in the simulator or on the range.

Since training a new skill requires extensive practice, the Red Dot Optic course includes 21 detailed drills; everything from how many yards out the target is, time limits, rounds and repetitions, etc. VirTra includes this information so instructors can either practice it on their real-life training simulators, or on the range.

After the Course

Obviously, the point of any course is to familiarize officers with the taught skill—in this case, utilizing the pistol-mounted red dot optic—but VirTra’s courses go a few steps further. After the course is completed, officers should be able to identify advantages and disadvantages of the red dot system, identify the importance of target and threat focus instead of the focus on the front sight, and more.

To continue learning about VirTra’s “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment” curriculum and how officers benefit from this training, please contact a VirTra specialist.

Law enforcement encounter a variety of individuals during their careers. While substance use and mental illness are discussed and trained for, there are also certain medical conditions and diseases that can affect normal communication. These conditions and diseases must also be taught to officers to prepare them to help any and every individual in their community.

For example, neurocognitive disorders (NCD’s) affect memory, understanding, task performance and much more1. The most overwhelmingly common NCD is Alzheimer’s Disease, and in the past all NCD’s were classified as dementia, when in fact there are multiple types and levels. NCD’s are typically associated with the elderly since it is most prevalent in people 65 years of age are older, but it is not exclusive to this age group.

The way NCD’s work is by causing damage to brain cells. The damage gradually makes symptoms more and more noticeable over time. Sometimes it is not immediately apparent that someone has an NCD – at times it takes a few moments for signs to appear. In general, symptoms law enforcement officers may notice and want to look out for include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Getting lost or misplacing items frequently
  • Poor judgment in decision making

Some of these symptoms do not always reflect Alzheimer’s or other similar diseases, but also traumatic brain injury or substance abuse. Law enforcement officers must also be aware that those with NCD’s have the possibility of becoming verbally or physically aggressive.

Officers can strategically communicate with those who have NCD’s by doing the following2:

  • Identify yourself
  • Speak slowly and non-threatening
  • Ask one question at a time, allowing the individual to respond
  • Repeat questions and phrases as necessary
  • Avoid confrontation

‘Neurocognitive Disorders’ is a section of VirTra’s “Mental Illness” curriculum. With a 12-page instructor guide, slideshow presentation and testing materials, law enforcement instructors can familiarize trainees with dementia and NCD’s. The coursework is designed to be used alongside simulated scenarios to allow ‘learning by doing.’

The entire “Mental Illness” set of V-VICTA® curriculum contains 15 hours of detailed coursework certified by IADLEST. To learn about how V-VICTA can be incorporated into your department’s training, contact a specialist.

 

References:

  1. Psychology Today. (2019). Neurocognitive Disorders (Mild and Major). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/neurocognitive-disorders-mild-and-major
  2. Alzheimer’s Association. (2006). Safe Return, Alzheimer’s disease: Guide for Law Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/national/documents/SafeReturn_lawenforcement.pdf

It sounds like a simple concept – one officer is a contact officer and another is the cover officer. The truth is, these concepts and principles arose from a number of unfortunate incidents in law enforcement where the contact and cover roles were blurred or even non-existent. Each officer has a role and responsibilities that are vital to safety and must be understood.

A tragic event in 1984 laid the groundwork for contact and cover principles. Officers Timothy Ruopp and Kimberly Tonahill of San Diego PD lost their lives on duty when apprehending two subjects for a misdemeanor charge. While Ruopp was writing the subjects a citation, Tonahill began conducting a Terry Frisk on one subject who overpowered her and shot both officers with a handgun. What went wrong? The contact officer, Tonahill, was not being observed or protected since Ruopp was focused on writing the citations.

Duties and Responsibilities of Contact & Cover Officers

A contact officer must:

  • Communicate, contain and control the subject(s)
  • Search and arrest subject(s)
  • Communicate with the cover officer and dispatch
  • Primarily assigned the use of less-lethal force options

The cover officer must:

  • Protect the contact officer
  • Remain aware of surroundings and third parties
  • Relay intelligence to contact officer
  • Provides lethal cover

It is important to reiterate that role switching is acceptable, but blurring the roles is not. Teamwork is mandatory and effective communication between officers, to subjects and to dispatch is imperative. Officers must monitor and maintain proper positioning and appropriate distancing. At times, subjects may need to be moved to help the cover officer observe.

All of these points and many more are mentioned in the Contact and Cover Concepts V-VICTA™ curriculum. This course is 3 hours of NCP certified material certified by IADLEST. Like other V-VICTA curriculum, Contact and Cover Concepts includes a training manual, associated simulator scenarios, a presentation, testing materials and more.

To learn how to incorporate Contact and Cover Concepts and the vital principles covered within the curriculum, contact a product specialist.

To make the best officers, instructors must provide the best training. After all, training quality and an officer’s skillset go hand-in-hand; when one improves, so does the other. Unfortunately, when one diminishes, so does the other. Naturally, instructors want to provide the very best training for their law enforcement officers and watch them succeed in the field.

However, as an instructor, chances are you face difficult decisions that are often outside of your control, yet they greatly affect training. Just a few of these decisions include:
• Mandates—both legal and departmental
• Cost—overtime, equipment (repairs, new orders, etc.), actors
• Time—time spent traveling, but trying to squeeze in training
• Instructors—whether it be shortages or lack of availability
• Facilities—various training locations, such as off-site shooting ranges
• Priorities—who makes the ultimate decisions in each training aspect?

Even though there are many aspects of training outside of your control, it is better to focus on what you can control, and how your officers can benefit. Fortunately, high-end training technology can solve many of the issues listed above, giving instructors the power to fully control training again.

For example, VirTra’s training simulators provide an immersive, controlled environment where instructors can run trainees through critical-skill focused scenarios: de-escalation, judgmental use of force, interaction with mentally ill subjects, etc. Having a simulator reduces the number of instructors needed, the cost of role-players and reducing the number of required facilities to one—solving three major issues in one go.

But it doesn’t stop there. Every VirTra law enforcement simulator is equipped with V-VICTA™—nationally-certified curriculum based off current officer needs. This can meet the need of various mandates, as all curriculum provide certified training hours, in addition to reducing the cost of instructor-created content.

It is also worth noting that modern training technology engages newer officers. These individuals have been surrounded by technology their entire lives and know its value. As a department, embracing technology can invite more officers to becoming instructors.

To learn more, download VirTra Subject Matter Expert TJ Alioto’s 2021 ILEETA presentation.

Access the presentation here.

The newly introduced V-VICTA® (VirTra – Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy) is already making an impact for law enforcement training. VirTra has partnered with nationally recognized partners in their respected industries on the new law enforcement training curriculum and new scenarios to include experts like Haley Strategic, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA), Office of the Utah Attorney General, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Trijicon, and Vistelar just to name a few. We are proud to have these respected partners help develop the curriculum to adapt to what is needed by officers everywhere.

VirTra is ensuring integration of what leading science has discovered about Simulation and adult learning and woven it into all of our material, which maximizes the effects of training time and increased abilities. We strive to ensure that Peace Officers have the best opportunity to train and serve their communities better.

VirTra has taken the science behind teaching and training psychomotor skills and integrated it into a comprehensive and full solution training curriculum. These law enforcement training courses provide a complete solution and integrate the classroom, the simulator, and testing to ensure the best efforts in the long-term, to achieve consistent performance from the students.

Before having V-VICTA, our customers have stated that it took them anywhere from 25 hours to a full 40 hours to create just ONE hour of curriculum for their department. Now they have 20+ hours of curriculum ready for use. Here are what some of our amazing partners are saying about the how our newest law enforcement training tool is elevating their training methods to teach, train, test, and sustain their team for years to come:

“Our collaboration with VirTra enables students — outside the classroom — to do “fire drills” using our tactics in real-world simulations of verbal conflict.”
– Vistelar

“This innovative program provides a methodology to assist agencies in the initial training on the use of a Red Dot Optic, and also to facilitate the ongoing maintenance of the skills by allowing for structured performance enhancing “boosters.”
– Trijicon

“This course will give them much-needed tools to recognize and address possible conflict with dogs instead of simply shooting an animal.”
– National Sheriff’s Association

“The new scenarios were created with a breadth of training and educational options seen in the multiple branches. VirTra curriculum developers worked with us to create a platform for effectively teaching constitutional policing principles.”
– Ken Wallentine Special Agent, Utah Attorney General

V-VICTA comes included with your law enforcement system and provides a whole new level of training to help your trainers think outside the simulator and keep your team prepared for the unexpected.  Even better, this is only the first volume to be released, and many more curriculum on crucial areas of training are still to come. Contact us to learn more about how you can add V-VICTA to your training curriculum.

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